Top wine to pair with roast chicken

Top wine to pair with roast chicken

There's nothing more satisfying than seeing convention turned on its head. If you believed what most tell you, it'd be a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Viognier. Yes, they'll work; but what if I said there's an even better wine to choose?

 Jim Barry's "The Lodge Hill" Riesling is one of Australia's great Riesling bargains

Jim Barry's "The Lodge Hill" Riesling is one of Australia's great Riesling bargains

Meet Riesling, possibly the most ignored white grape variety by anyone other than the wine trade and press.

Suffering from the double whammy of being forever associated with medium-sweet, cheap, German bottles and being mis-pronounced more often than not (it's Reece-ling), it was Kim Brebach who turned me on to it (you can read Kim's take on why Riesling's usually suggested with the wrong foods here).

If there's one rule to remember about which wines go with what foods; it's that there are no rules

We're talking simply roasted chicken here. Might be with root vegetables and roast potatoes in colder months, maybe with a salad in summer. Whatever you fancy.

And for the Riesling, you'd be hard-pushed to beat Australia in the value stakes. Aussie Riesling is almost always in a dry style too, whereas many countries cover the range from crisp and dry right through to sweet wines; so you're unlikely to go wrong with your pick.

We went for the Jim Barry "The Lodge Hill", a long-time favourite, and a wine that still comes in at around the £10 mark (Co-Op; Majestic).

You can see why the usual suspects (Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir) would spring to mind. The juicy nature of roast chicken together with roast veg and a tasty gravy all make you want to chose a wine that's got some weight behind it too.

Australian Riesling's citrus elements (lime-lemon often vie for pole position) are usually backed up by a real fruitiness, and finish with a lip-smacking, crisp dryness. As it turns out, that's just what you want as you tuck into that succulent chicken.

It really shouldn't come as a surprise; many a recipe demands you squeeze a lemon over the bird, or even shove a couple of halves inside it.

Regions that make outstanding Riesling include the Clare Valley (where the Jim Barry comes from), Eden Valley, and some over in Western Australia like Great Southern, Mount Barker, and Frankland.

Give it a try. You might just come to join the exclusive 'Riesling Club'.

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